Matteo Castronovo

CURRENT: I am currently appointed as Lecturer in Biochemistry in the School of Food Science and Nutrition at University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. 

FORMER: Coordinator of the atomic force microscopy laboratory and the Monalisa nanobiophysics group in the Department of Medical and Biological Sciences at University of Udine.

My research program is in the general area of experimental biomolecular nanoscience, with a specific focus on developing innovative approaches to biosensing.


A constant driving force in my work is to join fundamental and applied research in order to create novel sensing nanodevices, aimed at understanding or solving key problems in molecular biology and medicine. I am particularly interested in the profiling of protein and nucleic acids in highly heterogeneous tissues with single-cell resolution.

Towards this end I am investigating the mechanical and functional properties of self-assembled DNA nanostructures, and the emergent behaviours of nucleic acids and nucleic acid processing enzymes under nanoscale confinement.

My experimental approaches include the use of atomic force microscopy, nanolithography and nucleic acid self-assembly on surfaces and in solution to enable the development of functionalized nanodevices in which biomolecular diffusion and recognition can be controlled by physical means.

I completed my PhD training with Prof. Giacinto Scoles in April 2008, at the University of Trieste, Italy, and carried out short-term postdoctoral work in the same group. Then, as research-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Temple I pursued a new initiative in RNA nanotechnology in collaboration with Prof. Allen Nicholson. My career path to date has involved research in academic as well as non-academic medical centres in the USA and Italy. This has given me the unprecedented opportunity to develop broad strengths as a junior independent scientist and research team leader in nanobiotechnology and nanomedicine.

 I believe my direct immersion in biomedical and clinical environments has been essential in allowing me to conceptualize and develop new nanotechnologies for solving real health challenges, rather than merely “developing solutions in search of a problem”.


Alex Stopar

Lucia Coral

Abimbola Adedeji


Alessia Amodio

Luca Crevatin

Denis Chang

Marco Vidonis


Legend: (*) Corresponding Author; (+) Equal contributions; (#) my students or post doc.


[1]     Esmaeili, E.; Vossoughi, M.; Abdollahzadeh, I.; Ambrosetti, E.; Stopar, A.; Soleimani M.; Scoles G.; Castronovo, M.(*)Efficient and Reversible Protein Capture on Surfaces Based on Magnetically-enhanced DNA-directed Immobilization (submitted).

[2]     Solano, I.; Parisse, P.; Gramazio, F.; Cavalleri, O.; Bracco, G.; Castronovo, M.; Casalis, L.; Canepa, M.(*) Spectroscopic ellipsometry meets AFM nanolithography: about hydration of bio-inert oligo(ethylene glycol)-terminated self assembled monolayers on gold. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2015, doi:10.1039/C5CP04028K. (IF: 4.493)

[3]     Amodio, A.(#); Zhao, B.; Porchetta, A.; Idili, A.; Castronovo, M.; Fan, C.; and Ricci, F.(*) Rational design of pH-controlled DNA strand displacement. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014, 136, 16469−16472. (IF: 11.444)

[4]     Idili, A.; Amodio, A.(#); Vidonis, M.(#); Feinberg-Somerson, J.; Castronovo, M.(*); Ricci, F.(*) Folding-upon-binding and signal-on electrochemical DNA sensor with high affinity and specificity.Analytical Chemistry 2014, 86, 9013–9019. (IF: 5.83)

[5]     Redhu, S. K.(#); Castronovo, M.(*); Nicholson, A. W.(*) Digital Imprinting of RNA Recognition and Processing on a Self-Assembled Nucleic Acid Matrix.Scientific Reports 2013, 3. (IF: 5.078)

[6]     Castronovo, M.(*); Stopar, A.(#); Coral, L.(#); Redhu, S. K.(#); Vidonis, M.(#); Kumar, V.; Ben, F. Del; Grassi, M.; Nicholson, A. W.(*) Effects of Nanoscale Confinement on the Functionality of Nucleic Acids: Implications for Nanomedicine.Current Medicinal Chemistry 2013, 20. (review) (IF: 3.715)

[7]     Liang, J.(#); Castronovo, M.; Scoles, G.(*) DNA as Invisible Ink for AFM Nanolithography.Journal of the American Chemical Society 2012, 134, 39–42. (IF: 11.444)

[8]     Rizzolio, F.; Lucchetti, C.; Caligiuri, I.; Marchesi, I.; Caputo, M.; Klein-Szanto, A. J.; Bagella, L.; Castronovo, M.; Giordano, A.(*) Retinoblastoma Tumor-suppressor Protein Phosphorylation and Inactivation Depend on Direct Interaction with Pin1.Cell Death Differ 2012, 19, 1152–1161. (IF: 8.39)

[9]     Castronovo, M.(*); Lucesoli, A.; Parisse, P.; Kurnikova, A. (#); Malhotra, A. (#); Grassi, M.; Grassi, G.; Scaggiante, B.; Casalis, L.; Scoles, G. Two-dimensional Enzyme Diffusion in Laterally Confined DNA Monolayers. Nature Communications 2011, 2, 1–10. (IF: 10.742)

[10]  Castronovo, M.; Radovic, S.; Grunwald, C.; Casalis, L.; Morgante, M.; Scoles, G.(*) Control of Steric Hindrance on Restriction Enzyme Reactions with Surface-Bound DNA Nanostructures.Nano Letters 2008, 8, 4140–4145.(IF: 12.940)

[11]  Mirmomtaz, E.(+); Castronovo, M.(+); Grunwald, C.(+); Bano, F.; Scaini, D.; Ensafi, A. A.; Scoles, G.(*); Casalis, L. Quantitative Study of the Effect of Coverage on the Hybridization Efficiency of Surface-Bound DNA Nanostructures.Nano Letters 2008, 8, 4134–4139. (IF: 12.940)

[12]  Scaini, D.; Castronovo, M.; Casalis, L.; Scoles, G.(*) Electron Transfer Mediating Properties of Hydrocarbons as a Function of Chain Length: A Differential Scanning Conductive Tip Atomic Force Microscopy Investigation.ACS Nano 2008, 2, 507–515. (IF: 12.033)

[13]  Castronovo, M.; Bano, F.; Raugei, S.; Scaini, D.; Dell’Angela, M.; Hudej, R.; Casalis, L.; Scoles, G.(*) Mechanical Stabilization Effect of Water on a Membrane-like System.Journal of the American Chemical Society 2007, 129, 2636–2641. (IF: 11.444)


[14]  Esmaeili, E.; Vossoughi, M.; Ambrosetti, E.; Abdollahzadeh, I.; Stopar, A.; Soleimani M.; Scoles G.; Castronovo, M.Protein detection by means of magnetically enhanced DNA-directed immobilization on surfaces. 6th International Conference on Nanostructures - ICNS6, Kish Island-Iran, 2016. (accepted)


[15]  Nicholson, A.W.; Redhu, S.K.(#); Stopar, A.(#); Coral, L.(#); Carnevale, V.; and Castronovo, M.(*) Emergent Properties and Functions of Dense Nucleic Acid Architectures. In RNA and DNA Diagnostics, edited by Erdmann, V.A.; Jurga, S.; Barciszewski, J., Springer International Publishing;2015, 183-204.

[16]  Castronovo, M.(*); Scaini, D. The Atomic Force Microscope as a Lithographic Tool: Nanografting of DNA Nanostructures for Biosensing Applications. In DNA Nanotechnology, edited by Zuccheri G. and Samorì B., Humana Press; 2011; Vol. 749, pp. 209–221.

See my full CV here.

Monalisa Group

Department of Medical and Biological Sciences - University of Udine - Piazzale Kolbe, 4 - 33100 Udine - Italy

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